Frequently misspelled bike terms explained

There’s a lot of talk about bikes, be it in chat groups, social media, or with online sellers. Not everyone is a grammar Nazi, but there are some errors we’ve noticed have been misspelled on a regular basis.

These typographical errors are typically harmless, but can sometimes result in some misunderstanding, or you being the butt of your barkada’s joke. In some cases, getting technical terms wrong can mean getting the wrong part altogether.

As such, we’re bringing up some common typographical errors we typically encounter and what their misspelling may mean. Have a look at some of them and we hope you learn to distinguish the two in the future.


Breaks vs brakes and other misspelled bike terms image

Wrong: How much is the prize of this model?

Right: How much is the price of this model?

PRIZE (premyo) refers to a reward given to the winner of a competition, raffle, challenge, etc. It is never bought by the recipient, but always won. PRICE (presyo) refers to the monetary value of something. You have to pay the person to get this, rather than just getting it for free.

These two are easily confused, whether in English or Filipino, because the spelling of both differs by just one letter. The difference is how they are acquired; one is free, the other has to be paid for.

This is important particularly when buying something. If you ask a seller for a prize, they might be insulted, because it suggests you want something for free. The price is what you should be asking for, which is how much you’ll have to pay to get it, whether with a downpayment and installments, or in cash.


Breaks vs brakes and other misspelled bike terms image

Wrong: May ABS ba breaks niyan? (Do its breaks have ABS?)

Right: May ABS ba brakes niyan? (Do its brakes have ABS?)

If you mean part of the bike that slows it down when you pull a lever or step on the pedal, then it’s BRAKES. BREAKS can refer to destroying a bike or taking several short rests. It’s easy to confuse the two and their spelling is very similar. However, they mean two very different things.

This is important especially if you’re inquiring about brakes online. If you tell a seller you want a disc break, they might end up giving you a broken disc rotor by mistake. Also, take the time to clarify what part of the brake system you need. Chances are, you’re looking for brake pads: the material inserted into a brake caliper which makes contact with a disc rotor to slow the bike down.

These days, most people know you mean brakes instead of breaks. However, it will save you a lot of trouble if you spell it right the first time.


Breaks vs brakes and other misspelled bike terms image

Wrong: For sale; tires with 75% thread life.

Right: For sale; tires 75% tread life.

Those that frequently change their tires will likely have encountered this. TREAD refers to the thickness of the grooves in a tire. When someone says 75% TREAD life, that means there’s still ¾ of the tire’s material left. When someone says a tire still has a lot of THREAD life, that may not be a good thing. After all, it sounds close to the saying, “down to its last thread,” or “hanging on by a thread.” These two euphemisms mean something is close to the end of its life. And no one would like to buy a tire that’s near its expiry.

Making this distinction is very important because the possible meanings are very far from each other. Tire treads are what allow those hopes of rubber to channel water, mud, and dust away from the ground and grip the surface better. The only time you’ll see tire threads is when it is already ripped up, exposing some of the softer material underneath that should be holding it together, like Kevlar or canvas threads. Learn the difference between the two and possibly save yourself from wondering why the buyer suddenly backed off.


Breaks vs brakes and other misspelled bike terms image

Wrong: The bike’s pairing is really nice

Right: The bike’s fairing is really nice.

A motorcycle’s FAIRING is a shell placed over the frame and parts of the engine to cover it and in some cases, improve its aerodynamics. It’s usually made of plastic but can be made of fiber glass or carbon fiber in more expensive sport bikes or race bikes. PAIRING may mean matching in two’s or pairs. Telling the difference between the two is important because bike fairing usually comes in pairs. You may want to just replace one side of your bike’s fairing that has damage, only to be sold two pieces (or a pairing) of fairing.

This typographical error is much less common than the previous three but still happens every now and then. It’s also quite harmless when it comes to negotiating because motorcycle fairing (when new) is usually sold in pairs anyway. Nonetheless, it’s still helpful to know the difference.


Breaks vs brakes and other misspelled bike terms image

Wrong: He’s a very good bike costumizer

Right: He’s a very good bike customizer

A motorcycle CUSTOMIZER is someone who modifies and a motorcycle with unique parts, sometimes hand-made, for a particular client or custom bike show. A COSTUMIZER may mean someone who frequently wears elaborate attire or dresses up like a particular fictional character. The difference may seem pretty obvious to most, but this mistake still happens from time to time, especially for people who don’t check what they wrote before sending the message or posting the status.

The difference is important more for courtesy, especially for the customizer. After all, motorcycle customizations and the people who do them are very serious about their craft. It takes months, sometimes years, to create a show-worthy custom bike. Calling them a costumizer may suggest you’re not taking their painstaking work very seriously; that what they’ve done is just a costume — for a one-time event like Halloween or a Christmas party.

These are just a few of the common misspellings we’ve noticed. Are there others you’ve encountered? Let us know in the comments.